Public access site for Local Insight: What you need to know

When we developed Local Insight, one of the key aims was to create a tool that was accessible and easy to use by all across an organisation. We wanted everybody to be able to gain useful insights, regardless of whether or not they were a statistician or data analyst.

As part of this campaign to open up data to a wider pool of people, we offer Local Insight subscribers the option of a public facing open-access site in addition to the Local Insight tool.

Users of the open access sites do not need to log-in to the tool. These open access sites gives anybody that visits the site access to the data, reports and maps available within Local Insight, without giving away admin access to create areas, reports and the abundance of other features available.


Who are the open access sites intended for?

The audience for the open access site differs between organisations. Fundamentally, the open access sites are for anybody that needs quick and easy access to neighbourhood level data for their local communities; whether this is for work, study or personal knowledge.

We’ve outlined below a few groups and organisations that are already using open access Local Insight sites – and we love hearing about new uses to add to the list!


Reap the benefits

Encourage self serve

Local Insight open access sites are simple to navigate and users can start gaining useful insights within a few minutes. Through opening up access to data via a simple to use portal, you can encourage others to self-serve, avoid bottlenecks, and reduce burdens on the research team itself.

Save time by reducing admin needed

Local Insight subscriptions include unlimited users across your organisation and local partners. If you are extending access to a wide group of people, this can lead to quite a lot of admin time managing all the users within the system. Through opting in to an open access site, you can eradicate the need for this admin, by simply sharing the link to the open access site with colleagues.

Reduce time spent on Freedom of Information requests

The open access sites are a valuable resource to support you and your team to deal with some of the Freedom of Information requests you receive. As the open access site is in the public domain, you can direct people to where they can find information themselves within Local Insight, rather than digging out the data yourself.

Branded data portal for your local areas

Many local authorities across the country have publicly available open data portals; where users can access data across a wide range of topics. The depth and breadth of these sites are wide ranging – from simply displaying a few ward profile reports, to displaying thousands of datasets.

Local Insight is a happy medium, which provides in-depth profile reports for any local area and access to up to 800 datasets (depending on how many you choose to display). We customise the open access sites for you, so that the data portal aligns with your organisational branding. All in all, you are provided with an aesthetically pleasing, simple to use portal for your data needs.


Get in touch

For more information on how Local Insight and an open access site can support your organisation to use better data for better decisions, drop us a line on or ring us on +44 (0)1273 810270

Latest data updates for Local Insight

We know that having the latest data for your local areas is important and so we keep all the datasets in Local Insight up to date for you. Here is a summary of the most recent data updates in Local Insight.

Unemployment benefits data from the Department of Work and Pensions  (August 2016) This includes: 

  • Jobseekers Allowance claimants, claiming for over 12 months
  • Jobseekers Allowance claimants, female
  • Jobseekers Allowance claimants, male
  • Unemployment benefit (JSA and Universal Credit)
  • Youth unemployment (18-24 receiving JSA)
  • Unemployment benefit (JSA only)

whole range of Benefit data from the Department of Work and Pensions has also been released (February 2016), highlights include: 

  • Attendance Allowance claimants
  • Disability benefit (DLA)
  • Disability Living Allowance claimants
  • Employment and Support Allowance claimants
  • Income support claimants
  • Incapacity benefit claimants
  • Working-age DWP benefit claimants

These headline datasets are also broken down into further more detailed datasets, defined by gender, age and other factors. You can find all these indicators in the Unassigned theme using the Manage Indicators feature. For more information on using this feature see this article.  

National Insurance numbers issued to non-UK nationals 2015/2016 (The data relates to the period of March 2015 to March 2016)

This dataset from the department of Work and Pensions shows, the total number of people registering with a National Insurance number who have come from overseas. This is a measure of the number of people who have migrated to the UK from overseas to work, who have moved into the local area.

If you would like to see a full list of the data updates in Local Insight then send us an email to



Please note, we would like to make users aware of a slight error with one indicator within the reports. This error was isolated to the Vehicle crime data on page 29, Crime and safety: Recorded crime (1). 

The Vehicle crime data generated for your custom areas was correct, however the per 1,000 of the population and England average figures were incorrect. Once spotted this error was fixed immediately and quality control checks were done across the reports.

This error affects all reports generated between 2016-06-20 and 2016-08-19. To regenerate the reports and amend the issue simply generate a new report for that custom area.

For advice on updating reports when new data is released check out this article. 

Use Local Insight to help tackle loneliness

Loneliness affects over 1 million older people in the UK, with very high associated health costs. Reducing loneliness among older people can result in fewer visits to the doctors, lower use of medication, fewer days in hospital and fewer admissions to nursing homes. The new data from Age UK helps focus resources to those areas known to have a higher prevalence of loneliness.

The exciting thing about this prevalence of loneliness indicator is that it shows how a well designed dataset can be used to better target local services. Here we explore what this means for organisations working with older people, and practical ways you can use the data to support your work.

The new dataset on the prevalence of loneliness recently published by Age UK captured the attention of OCSI. Not only because it provides insight on an important social issue at a local level, but also because of the way that the data was constructed (see info box for the tech details, data geeks!). Over the years we have worked a lot with modelling data to produce estimates at small area level, and have seen how using this kind of data can support intelligent and informed service planning decisions. The prevalence of loneliness indicator is the first time that small area predictions regarding loneliness have been made at a national scale in UK. This shows how a well designed dataset can help us to move beyond straight description to be able to estimate more useful statistics using modelling techniques. This data can be used as a tool for evidence based decisions, focusing resources to those areas known to have a higher prevalence of loneliness. Loneliness affects over 1 million older people in the UK and research suggests that prevalence of loneliness in England is far higher than in other developed countries (Scharf and de Jong Gierveld, 2008).  The health impacts associated with loneliness are staggering and research shows that low cost approaches to addressing loneliness among older people can result in fewer visits to the doctors, lower use of medication, fewer days in hospital and fewer admissions to nursing homes. Access to data at small area level provides opportunities for local government and community organisations to better understand their local communities and target their resources more effectively and efficiently.

Targeting services for older people

One way in which this data can be used, is to identify and address gaps in services for older people in a local area. Social activities such as day centres, lunch clubs, exercise clubs and creative activities are effective approaches to combating loneliness in older people. Through using the prevalence of loneliness data, organisations can compare the locations of these activities to areas with high prevalence of loneliness, to ensure that residents are able to access services in their local area. The Friends In Action team in Wirral have done exactly this and have been able to identify local hotspots and set up a regular meeting place venue in this area. There are wide ranging applications for using this data for more effective targeting of resources. It can be a useful tool for local government communications teams, for example to support with targeting befriending campaigns to the areas most in need, or used by the fire service to identify potentially vulnerable individuals or high risk areas for fires.

Engaging with the issue of loneliness across local partners

Data and the stories that emerge from data can be used as a starting point for cross-partner communication about local issues. For areas where it has proved challenging to keep older people wellbeing high on the agenda, this data can be used to bring partner organisations together to discuss the issues surrounding loneliness in a local area. In Rotherham, the Age UK data has helped to raise awareness of loneliness as a social issue. It has provided a robust evidence base to remind partners of the impacts of loneliness, initiated conversations and engaged individuals and organisations in taking action to tackle loneliness in later life.

Shaping environments to be more inclusive of older people

The loneliness data also has useful implications for transport and urban planning, as these factors have an impact on older people’s ability and willingness to participate socially. Ensuring that accessibility challenges are addressed in areas with a high prevalence of loneliness could help to remove some barriers older people face. The Department for Communities and Local Government (DCLG) 2008 report on Lifetime Neighbourhoods, highlights small changes to neighbourhoods that are needed to ensure communities are fit for an ageing population. The report suggests that the design of neighbourhoods and neighbourhood services can help to prevent social isolation of old people. Although loneliness and isolation are not one and the same, the prevalence of loneliness indicator could be used to prioritise areas and resources to improve communities for older people –  such as repairing pavements, ensuring public toilets are open and that anti-social behavior is tackled.

Accessing the data

So, how can you get your hands on this data? Raw data: The raw data is available through ONS and is the dataset named CT0467_2011 Census – Log odds of loneliness for those aged 65 and over – Local Authorities to Output Areas England and Wales

Age UK heatmaps:  Age UK have produced freely available heat maps that show the risk of loneliness at neighbourhood level within a local authority as well as supplying some handy FAQs.

Local Insight:  Local Insight is OCSI’s community mapping and reporting tool for local authorities and community organisations. It provides lots of ways to easily map, compare and report on the prevalence of loneliness data (and more than 700 other datasets!). On top of that, you can view data aggregated to any area that you define yourself, by simply drawing an area on a map. Take a look at this video to see how quickly you can start gaining useful insights using the prevalence of loneliness data with Local Insight.


Get in touch

We have been working with the public sector to use better data for better decisions for more than 10 years. Get in touch to see how we can support you to:

  • Analyse and visualise data for your service patches
  • Use data science and modelling techniques to better understand your communities and services
  • More effectively target your resources based upon localised pockets of need

Drop us a line on or give us a call on +44(0)1273 810270

Technical details on the data

The prevalence of loneliness indicator published by Age UK uses data from the English Longitudinal Study of Ageing (ELSA) survey, to identify predictors of loneliness in older age. The results from this modelling were applied to data from Census 2011 to predict the prevalence of loneliness across small area geographies such as Output Areas (OAs), Super Output Areas (LSOAs and MSOAs) and local authorities. Some of the key findings were:

  • Household size was found to be inversely related with prevalence of loneliness, with those living alone most likely to feel lonely
  • Owning a house outright or renting are both associated with lower probabilities of feeling lonely, compared to those paying a mortgage on a property
  • Those reporting worse health are more likely to feel lonely.
  • Age, pet ownership, level of income or gender were not found to be significant predictors of loneliness
  • Similarly, there was no significant association between loneliness and the rurality or deprivation level of an area.

To read more on the methodology, take a look at the full paper by Professor José Iparraguirre, Chief Economist at Age UK.